The art of tablescaping
Tablescaping (the art of setting your table) is the latest interior trend that’s got the coolest of dinner-party hosts in a lather, so we hot-footed our way to a Tablescaping workshop to discover all the tricks of the trade.
With ten years in hospitality and corporate event management under her belt, Sarah Coleman created Beyond the Table in Feb 2020 so she could impart her event planning and styling wisdom with the masses. With an incredible eye for detail and friendly down-to-earth approach, Sarah is the kind of person you want to help you calmly prepare a bespoke dining experience as she covers all the elements – from the table dressing right through to the appropriate music playlists.
The objective being that you get to enjoy your night as Sarah has pre-eliminated any stress or pressure that comes with hosting an event at home. We raise our glasses at that very thought.
Sarah looks after clients living across all corners of Kent but if you don’t have an occasion on the horizon, Sarah also regularly runs master classes so that she can pass on many of her styling skills – and we can all recreate this experience at home when the time comes.
Sarah hosts her classes at venues across Kent and our workshop was held at Park Farm Barn, a 200-year-old, timber-framed, stunning barn which is now available for holiday rentals in the pretty village of Throwley just outside of Faversham. Keep an eye out on her Instagram for all the details for the next one or sign up for pre-sale alerts via her website.
Park Farm Barn was an idyllic choice for us as the remote setting (on the edge of a farm down a dirt track) means you can cast to-do lists aside and immerse your self in learning a new skill.
Despite a few sniffy comments from friends about me heading off to learn how to ‘set a table’, I can officially declare that the tablescaping workshop did provide many words of wisdom that I shall be taking forward in dinner parties to come. And I now appreciate how many ways you can present a napkin and their design impact on the table. Yes, words that I never thought I would ever utter.
The class ran from 10.30 to 12.30 and it seemed a popular choice for mothers and daughters to do together plus we had a burgeoning wedding planner in our midst who wanted to improve her creativity in this area plus a few brides to be who wanted to pick up some key tips so a mixed group and not necessarily just pitched at the ‘ladies who lunch’ crowd.
Sarah’s professional background means that she does have some hard and fast rules about setting the perfect table setting (3 is the magical number when it comes to colour schemes/diff glassware to avoid over complicating the look which makes a lot of sense) and her signature style at Beyond the Table is monochrome which was the focus of this class. The rustic look is very much in vogue now thanks to the powers of Instagram, so it was interesting to see this look used as a more formal and arresting table setting option.
Once Sarah had shared many pearls of wisdom, we were encouraged to play around with her extensive range of tableware to create our own settings and if monochrome is too staged for you, Sarah had plenty of styling props at our disposal so you could use rattan chargers (my new obsession) and more informal tableware to mock up alternative table setting ideas.
One of the most valuable parts of the workshop was Sarah sharing her supplier list to unearth the best value home items, bespoke candles, table runner fabric etc… We won’t divulge her secrets, but Sarah’s address book is packed full of wonderful and quirky independent businesses in this department.
Plus, we were taught the art of reflexing roses – a neat way to bring new life to ageing roses and creating voluminous blooms for your table. If you are looking to create a point of difference for your next dinner party, this class is the one for you…
NEED TO KNOW
The workshop class costs £55 per person but if you are looking to leap in straight away with tablescaping styling as the summer party season descends upon us, you can look to pay from £199 for 2-4 guests, £249 for 6 guests and £299 for 8 guests. Prices include all table linen, crockery, glassware, cutlery, candles and holders, menu cards and place names.
Beyond The Table can also help with private workshops for group or team building bookings as well as bespoke event planning ranging from catering choices, invitations, entertainment – from £149) so you can lean on Sarah as much as you like and sssh, no one needs to know that she was ever there…